Book on Free Jazz In Japan Reviewed

Source: burning ambulance.

Teruto Soejima‘s Free Jazz In Japan: A Personal History is a book of this type. Originally published in 2002, it has finally been translated into English via Public Bath Press. Soejima, who died in 2014, was a critic who was also one of the earliest and strongest boosters of free jazz and avant-garde music in Japan. In 1969, he joined forces with guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi, drummer Masahiko Togashi and pianist Masahiko Satoh to found the New Jazz Hall, Tokyo’s first venue dedicated to free jazz. Throughout his life, he viewed himself as an advocate as well as a critic. In addition to his writing, he booked tours, produced albums, and worked to present Japanese artists abroad (particularly at European festivals) and bring like-minded American artists to Japan. He was there from the beginning, and this book describes the struggle to find performance spaces and to build an audience — in one hilarious incident, a particularly loud Takayanagi performance is interrupted by an enraged chef from a nearby restaurant, who bursts in, knife in hand, to complain about the noise — but ultimately becomes a tale of triumph, as Japanese free jazz musicians develop international reputations and the music grows and blossoms.